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Friday 28 July 2017

The UK could face a butter and cream shortage this Christmas

The price of butter on supermarket shelves has jumped by as much as 53pc in the past year
The price of butter on supermarket shelves has jumped by as much as 53pc in the past year

Sophie Christie

The UK could face a butter and cream shortage this Christmas, the boss of dairy group Arla warned this morning.

Chief executive Peder Tuborgh told the BBC that there was insufficient milk being supplied by farmers to make the products.

"The first sign we'll see of [a shortage] is that the price of butter rises very sharply," he said.

Mr Tuborgh added that the milk shortage had come about because producers "put the brakes on" in 2016, in order to compensate for previous over-production of milk that resulted in lower prices on supermarket shelves.

Recent research has shown that the price of butter in supermarkets jumped by as much as 53pc in the past year, thanks in part to the "Mary Berry effect" of increased popularity of baking.

The Grocer magazine found that the price of own-brand butter at Tesco had risen 53pc in the past year, while at Waitrose, Sainsbury's and Asda the price was up by at least 27pc.

However, the National Farmers Union said Mr Tuborgh's warnings were "scaremongering".

It told the BBC that the "constant boom and bust dairy market cycle" helped "no one, most of all farmers".


It said that while there had been "record prices" for wholesale cream and butter in recent weeks, farm-gate prices had failed to keep up, adding that the "lack of strong upward movement in farm-gate milk price" was "extremely concerning".

"That said, scaremongering about lack of milk supply going forward only serves to concern consumers," it added.

Arla Foods is the largest supplier of butter and cheese in the country, with brands including Lurpak, Anchor and Cravendale. It makes an annual turnover in excess of £2bn.

Telegraph.co.uk





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